Archive for lackland air force base

Unique Working Dog Protects 380th

Posted in air force teams, Military Working Dogs with tags , , , on June 5, 2009 by wardogmarine
380th Air Expeditionary Wing
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Andriacco
SOUTHWEST ASIA — The 380th Air Expeditionary Wing has a unique asset in the form of the only military working dog to be donated and trained outside of the Lackland Air Force Base military working dog training unit.

Haus, a German short-hair pointer, was donated to the Air Force Academy by American Legion George C. Evans Post #103 and was trained and certified by the Academy kennel master, Chris Jakubin.
Haus

Haus, a military working dog with the 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, and his handler Staff Sgt. Zerrick Shanks, perform a random perimeter sweep at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Sgt. Shanks and Haus have been working together for about a year and are deployed from the Air Force Academy.
After making arrangements to donate a dog to the kennels in honor of Evans, representatives from the post took Mr. Jakubin to a dog farm in Denver, where he performed a series of tests to figure out which one would make the best detection dog.

“After they selected the dog, he was sent to Lackland Air Force Base to be trained,” said Staff Sgt. Zerrick Shanks, a 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron K-9 handler and Haus’ partner.

The Lackland unit decided that Haus could not be trained and returned him to the Air Force Academy where Mr. Jakubin used his 20-plus years of dog training experience to train and certify Haus in bomb-detection within two months.

Haus brings his unique abilities and sensitive nose to the security mission at the 380th AEW as an explosives search dog.

“Our primary mission is to search vehicles and packages for explosives upon entry to the base,” Sgt. Shanks said. “We also conduct random walking patrols for suspicious packages and activities.”

Military K-9 units and their handlers have a unique partnership that relies on trust and they build a special closeness, as the dogs and their handlers may be together for a number of years.

“Haus and I have a good working relationship,” said Sgt. Shanks. “He knows that I’m ultimately the boss but at the same time we are partners. I don’t believe he could do the job without me and I’m sure I couldn’t do it without him.”

A bite out of crime in Iraq

Posted in Army Dog teams, military working dog handlers with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by wardogmarine

Horseheads grad trains Army dogs

U.S. Army Spec. Gregory Corsi must have nerves made of steel because he allows 80-pound snarling dogs to lunge at him and makes sure they get a good bite.

Gregory, a 2004 Horseheads High School graduate, is a student military working dog handler with the 341st Training Squadron, wrote U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Switzer. He spends his days at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Corsi
U.S. Army Spec. Gregory Corsi is a military dog handler at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.-Star Gazette

The center has courses that train human handlers and dogs to work together as sentries, and bomb and drug sniffers, Jessica wrote.

Four-legged students learn to identify the scents of a wide variety of explosives and drugs, many of which are odorless to humans, Jessica wrote. They also are trained to patrol and taught when it is and isn’t appropriate to bite a human, and when to let go.

Human students learn the basics about the dogs and then begin to work with them. For Gregory, working with canines is a completely different military experience.

“My job offers me the opportunity to encounter many law enforcement situations,” Gregory said. “I enjoy working with my dog on a daily basis; it’s very rewarding.”

He understands that facing ferocious attacks, hammering in constant commands and providing frequent praise will one day pay off with human lives saved on the battlefield.

“Military working dogs save lives in a number of situations,” said Gregory, who joined the Army for four years and served in Iraq for 15 months as a military policeman. “The dogs continue to get drugs off the streets and keep explosives off the roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

It may sound dangerous, but Gregory’s job doesn’t surprise his mother, Lou Ann Lance of Elmira.

“He always wanted to be a police officer,” Lou Ann said.

He also followed in the footsteps of his older brothers: Army veteran Matt Corsi, 27, a former military policeman who served in Iraq, and Army Capt. Joe Corsi, 25, a military intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan and will go to Iraq later this year.

Their father is Tom Corsi, of West Elmira. Their stepfather is Dave Lance.

Having three boys join the Army didn’t rattle their mother, she said.

“They believe in what they’re doing,” Lou Ann said. “It’s my job to support them. We’re very proud of them.”

Kingsley is a staff writer for the Star-Gazette. Neighbors runs Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Army specialized search dog team in Baghdad proving to be a valuable asset

Posted in Army Dog teams, military working dog handlers, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by wardogmarine

Raider K-9 team brings added capabilities to Rashid district

By Sgt. David Hodge, 1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B
Blackanthem Military News

good-dog1
Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, poses with Ryky, a Belgian Malanois, while out on mission Nov. 24 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier and his four-legged partner recently joined forces with other military dog teams at Forward Operating Base Falcon in helping to make the streets of Baghdad a safer place for Iraqi citizens and Soldiers to live and operate.

    
Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler, attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, along with Ryky, his K-9 partner, patrol the streets and communities of southern Baghdad’s Rashid district to search for weapons and make Soldiers a more effective force. 
    
Harrington, assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., and his 3-year-old Belgian Malanois partner, completed approximately 52 missions and uncovered more than 25 finds since arriving to Rashid in October.

ryky_ready_to_go
Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, is partnered with Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, who is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

Harrington said that Ryky made several significant finds since beginning her mission in Baghdad, to include an AK-47 rifle hidden in a false ceiling and four mortar rounds that led to the discovery of a large mound of hollowed-out munitions. 

Ryky detects odors from many types of munitions, such as ammunition, weapons, mortar rounds, artillery rounds, homemade explosives and trigger devices with residue on them. 

Harrington, a native of New Orleans, said what makes the hollow ceiling discovery so significant is the fact that most K-9s do not acknowledge above space above their own height.

mortar_rounds
Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, rests next to four 60mm mortar rounds she discovered while on patrol Nov. 26 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. Sgt. James Harrington, a native of New Orleans, who is Ryky’s handler, is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

“Ryky is a very friendly dog,” explained Harrington, a former infantryman in the Marines. “She is not a trained attack dog, so I allow her to be sociable with Soldiers. I let others pet her because it is a big morale booster.”

Harrington met Ryky at the Specialized Service Dog School at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. 

“At the school, the dogs are exposed to helicopter rides, simulated gunfire and simulated mortars to see how they react,” said Harrington, a 14-year military service veteran with six deployments since 1995. “The dogs must be confident around the noises; they can’t just take off running.”

Capable of detecting 19 separate odors on the battlefield and the ability to run off of a leash, the SSD dogs have a distinct advantage out in sector, said Harrington.

“Having Sgt. Harrington and the SSD dog gives me the extra capability to unleash the dog into an open area,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Ogle, who hails from Dayton, Ohio, and is the kennel master for the Falcon K-9 Team, 40th MP Det., from Fort Sill, Okla., attached to the 1st STB. 

“It is that off-leash capability that puts the handler out of danger,” he said.

Harrington said he feels the ability to multitask while operating in sector and conducting weapon searches is an important quality dog handlers should possess.

“I have to be able to watch for my security, watch for the dog’s security, watch what she is searching, and finally lead the dog in the direction I want her to search in next,” he explained. “I always have to be two steps ahead.” 

Recently, Harrington and Ryky cleared a 600-meter portion of a main thoroughfare in Baghdad for a distinguished visitor; it took them approximately an hour. 

“It would take another dog three hours to complete that stretch of road because they would be on a six-foot leash and the handler has to present everything to the dog,” Harrington stated.
cache_find1
Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, poses with Ryky, a Belgian Malanois, in front of a weapons cache they discovered while on mission Oct. 26 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B) 

Usually, the team uses a leash while out in sector due to stray dogs and small confined areas, he added, but, if needed, Ryky could be up to 200 yards away and still effectively search an area.

“It takes me out of the equation in case something was to go wrong; we lose a dog, but we don’t lose a handler,” explained Harrington, who has approximately two years experience with dogs.

According to Harrington, the SSD program has potential and is quickly becoming more widespread across all facets of the military.

One particular advantage of SSDs is the dog graduates ready to deploy right after completing the school, added Harrington.

Normal working dogs leave their school able to detect nine odors and receive additional training by their handlers in theater, said Harrington.

It is said in the “dog world” that the dog always out ranks the handler because the dog will lead the handler to where the odor originates, said Harrington.

“I think Ryky and I make Soldiers’ jobs easier because we can search faster, the dog can smell better and she leads from the front,” Harrington stated.

In the future, the need for working dogs may increase on the battlefield thanks to their keen sense of smell and ability to discover weapons with minimal Soldier over watch.

The Falcon K-9 Team currently keeps seven dogs in its kennels to support military operations in southern Baghdad, explained Ogle, who has six years experience handling dogs.

ryky1

 

Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, is partnered with Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, who is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Video clips from the military working dog handler’s course

Posted in military working dog handlers, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by wardogmarine

This video takes me back to the days of mwd handler’s course. To be a military working dog handler you have to go through the handler’s course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The course is part of the 341st training squadron.

‘Walter Reed’ for combat dogs opens at Texas base

Posted in Military Working Dogs, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2008 by wardogmarine

By MICHELLE ROBERTS – Oct 21, 2008

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A new $15 million veterinary hospital for four-legged military personnel opened Tuesday at Lackland Air Force Base, offering a long overdue facility that gives advanced medical treatment for combat-wounded dogs.


Dog handler James Stegmeyer works with Kamilka at the new Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008. The new $15 million veterinary hospital, complete with operating rooms and intensive care, officially opened Tuesday, offering an advanced facility to treat military dogs that find bombs and aid patrols on the warfront. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Dogs working for all branches of the military and the Transportation Safety Administration are trained at the base to find explosive devices, drugs and land mines. Some 2,500 dogs are working with military units.

Like soldiers and Marines in combat, military dogs suffer from war wounds and routine health issues that need to be treated to ensure they can continue working.

Dogs injured in Iraq or Afghanistan get emergency medical treatment on the battlefield and are flown to Germany for care. If necessary, they’ll fly on to San Antonio for more advanced treatment — much like wounded human personnel.


Dog handler James Stegmeyer works with Kamilka at the new Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008. The new $15 million veterinary hospital, complete with operating rooms and intensive care, officially opened Tuesday, offering an advanced facility to treat military dogs that find bombs and aid patrols on the warfront. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“We act as the Walter Reed of the veterinary world,” said Army Col. Bob Vogelsang, hospital director, referring to the Washington military medical center that treats troops returning severely wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The dogs can usually return to combat areas if they recover at the Military Working Dog Center, he said.

Before the center opened, veterinarians treated and rehabilitated dogs in a cramped building that opened in 1968, when the military trained dogs for work in Vietnam.

The hospital was already overloaded by Sept. 11, 2001, but since then, demand for military working dogs has jumped dramatically. They’re so short on dog breeds such as German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and Belgian Malinoises that Lackland officials have begun breeding puppies at the base.

Lackland is training 750 dogs, which is nearly double the number of dogs there before the Sept. 11 attacks, Vogelsang said.


Military guests take part in the grand opening ceremony for the new Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008. The new $15 million veterinary hospital, complete with operating rooms and intensive care, officially opened Tuesday, offering an advanced facility to treat military dogs that find bombs and aid patrols on the warfront. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

To treat the trainees and injured working dogs, the new hospital has operating rooms, digital radiography, CT scanning equipment, an intensive care unit and rehab rooms with an underwater treadmill and exercise balls, among other features. A behavioral specialist has an office near the lobby.

“This investment made sense … and somehow, we were able to convince others,” said retired Col. Larry Carpenter, who first heard complaints about the poor facilities in 1994 and later helped to launch the project.

Training a military working dog takes about four months. With demand outstripping the number of dogs available, hospital and veterinary workers were trying to keep them healthy and working as long as possible, Vogelsang said.

Working dogs usually enter training at 1 1/2- to 3-years-old, and most can work until they’re about 10, he said.

Then, the military tries to adopt them out and “station them at Fort Living Room,” Vogelsang said.

Guests tour the new Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008. The new $15 million veterinary hospital, complete with operating rooms and intensive care, officially opened Tuesday, offering an advanced facility to treat military dogs that find bombs and aid patrols on the warfront. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“You can’t beat this job”

Posted in air force teams, dogs, various k9 videos, working dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2008 by wardogmarine

Listen to what he says at 1:03 and 1:20

I just love this video. You can tell he genuinely enjoys being a military working dog hanlder. All of us handlers share the same sentiment when he says “You can’t beat this job.” It is hard to be able to beat a job where you get to work/play with some of the world’s finest dogs and people everyday. 

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